Painting a Portrait at West Dean

Painting a portrait, or painting the head as I prefer to think of it, is one of the courses I teach two or three times a year at West Dean. Portraiture is always a popular course at the college and during the past weekend a group of ten students studied the head over a three day period throughout which the model kept the same pose. The focus was on using oil paint and following a number of preparatory studies work continued on one painting throughout the rest of the course.

at work…

During a session with our model on the first evening students made both linear and tonal drawings, using both measuring and the reductive method. This was to both familiarise themselves with the model, proportion, form and structure, and also to begin to think about composition, of how the head or figure sits within the rectangle.

‘Girl in a Pink Hat’ oil on linen 2012

Once work was underway, I painted alongside the students as I try to do on these courses. The resulting painting ‘Girl in a Pink Hat’ can be seen above. One of the many artists we looked at during the course was Craigie Aitchison. His 1963 portrait of Georgeous Macaulay wasn’t far from my thoughts during the painting of this piece.

A collection of portraits made by students during the weekend…

Forthcoming courses can be found on the West Dean website

This entry was posted in Drawing, Painting, Portraiture, Uncategorized, West Dean College and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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